As I completed one year with EINST4INE and transitioned from Industry to Academia, I reflected on what I learned last year through interactions with senior scholars and peers.

I aim to share a few learnings and best practices on this blog as I learned with time, successes, and failures along the way. In my experience, these are the ten easy yet challenging aspects one should consider as founding principles for solid and rigorous research.

  1. Passion as the driving force
  2. Ethics as the moral force of self-regulation
  3. Finding the Gold in deep mines
  4. Use of technology to augment your mental capabilities
  5. Avoiding the common traps
  6. Best Practices to sail through the writers’ block
  7. Portfolio Theory in Research
  8. What’s your Goal
  9. Collaboration and Engagement with Practice and Policy
  10. Make it Fun or Have Fun

As a practice-oriented researcher closely looking into what’s happening in the industry from a corporate innovation perspective, I also observe blurred lines between Practice-oriented Research and consultancy work. Research works aim to be more rigorous and contribute to theory and practical implications. Also, as researchers, we are neutral observers of the phenomenon for a relatively long time rather than a consultant whose scope is limited to the work and tied to the organization/employer for a fixed short time (relatively speaking).

Now I deep dive into the 10 Aspects to consider for SOLID research work, starting with the basics.

  1. Passion as the driving force
  • First things first, and get the fundamentals right.
  • One should/MUST be passionate about the research area. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
  1. Ethics as the moral force of self-regulation
  • Ethics are the most crucial aspect.
  • Always be TRANSPARENT in your reporting and findings.
  1. Finding the Gold in deep mines
  • Know the best standard of Gold from Master Goldsmith. The same thing works in research: learn from the best in the field, i.e. get the best state-of-the-art knowledge from the best sources.
  • Be careful with Tom, Dick, and Harry available on social media without credentials. They can consume a lot of crucial time but no benefit from purely a research perspective.
  1. Use of technology to augment your mental capabilities
  • To find the Gold faster, enhance your capabilities with digital tools for data analysis.
  • Take the help of digital tools but with a complete understanding of the pros and cons of using them. I use the following for my qualitative research work to organize large archival and interview data.


Max QDA for making sense of extensive qualitative data in one place

Eg. Reference Management – Mendeley

There are countless others.

  1. Avoiding the common traps
    1. Quality over Quantity ALWAYS.
      1. Read only what’s the best and then reflect on them with your own thinking and experiences.
    2. Sponge principle for information absorption
      1. You will get the maximum benefits from the first squeeze. Rest is not worth it, given other time tradeoffs and balancing the work-life aspect.
      2. I Learn by interacting with others about the literature. Hence, it sticks better than sitting in front of the screen alone.
  2.  Best Practices to sail through the Writer’s block
  • Dedicated writing time

This is the most important routine I learned from my supervisors.

There are many best practices in this. Some say just dedicate time every day when you are fresh and energetic. Block everything else: mails, emails, etc …max 2 hrs…not more than that. Often called shut up and write i.e free flow writing.

  • Benefits and Pitfalls of templates

We use templates to structure your thinking, later or in the beginning depending on how your mind works. But also beware of Template thinking…it can sometimes be restrictive to think beyond. I try to think of different geometrical shapes and ways to represent a new concept.

  • Keep track of your activity – LOG IT down every single day.

This is the most crucial aspect of qualitative research, as the information can be overwhelming later. I struggle with it, but this small practice will save me a lot of headaches, and I am learning with time this best practice.

From Our new scholar’s network, there are also good videos to develop Academic writing :

Developing Academic Writing

The Five Cs Framework for Scholarly Writing

The Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Theory Paper

STR Virtual Panel: Work Habits and Productivity

  1. Portfolio Theory in Research

Portfolio of Research projects – be clear about this – Each project should have different cost-time dynamics. The best ones will take more time.

  • Best
  • Good
  • Average
  • Below average
  • Others
  1. What’s your Goal?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What kind of researcher do you want to be?
  • What for you want to be known?
  • What is your contribution?
  • Whom do you engage?
  • Questions like these… that you have the correct alignment of expectations

Remember, you are not going to solve all the problems in the world, you have to be a world-leading expert in one niche area and have a basic overview of others.

  1. Collaboration and Engagement with practice and policy

The power lies in collaboration, and I learn through interactions with practice and policy, especially about new mechanisms to fuel more innovations for energy transition, which requires a multi-stakeholder collaboration approach. It also leads to producing research that impacts the industry and society in general to address grand and complex challenges.

  1. Make it Fun or Have Fun

Last but not least and most crucial for mental well-being, given that most researchers go through depression once. Don’t work endlessly. It will make everything worse.

This completes the list of best practices I learned last year with interactions during conferences and in-person discussions with senior scholars and peers. I look forward to learning more with time and being better organized as a researcher managing my curiosity and time to produce rigorous research.

What have you learned from your research experiences? Please feel free to contact me to discuss common interests during a virtual coffee meeting. Reach out to me on Linkedin.



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